Dark January – how do we make sure our dogs and cats remain healthy?

January! The month when we humans evaluate just how much we’ve indulged over the holiday period.  We join gyms, become vegan, give up alcohol – anything to make us feel better and help us to get through the dark wintry weeks ahead.  But what about our furry friends?  How do we make sure our dogs and cats are kept healthy too?

As a professional dog-walking and cat care team we are out and about in the fresh air on a daily basis, whatever the weather. We could not imagine any other way now! But I do understand that at this time of the year it’s so easy to get out of your pet routine, especially when the winter weather sets in.

However, there’s a lot you can do on a regular basis to ensure your beloved pet remains healthy and happy

  • We always recommend a yearly visit to your local vet. Not just the annual booster type of visit, but a full examination and discussion as to any concerns. A regular MOT will highlight early signs of illness which can then be treated
  • Refrain from feeding your pets too many leftovers. Ensure that they have a fresh and healthy diet to begin with. This will help with overall well-being and behaviour, and provide them with gleaming coats, shiny eyes and a happy belly. As with humans you really are what you eat!
  • There are lots of healthy pet foods on the market, and we really recommend investing in the best food for your pets that your budget will allow for
  • Non independent vet surgeries will always recommend switching to a big-name brand such as Purina or Royal Canin as they are in a business partnership with them. And it may simply be that your pet will not enjoy boring biscuits every day! Would you want to eat Weetabix for every meal? Don’t be shy to do your own research, try out different options, and ask other pet owners
  • After 6 years of one type of biscuit for my cats Lily and Nelson, I recently switched to Scrumbles which is new to the market. They are an independent UK company, so you can also be assured that you are helping to support a small business. I have to say that after only 1 month I can already see an improvement in my cat’s waistlines and overall behaviour
  • After trying several types of food for my dog she has settled on Butternut Box. Her physique is amazing now, and she is much more content If you would like to try a freshly cooked food for your dog as part of a new routine please help yourself to our Butternut Box code, which will give you 75% off your first orde with no obligation to continue ButternutBox.com/HampsteadHounds
  • Ensure you provide fresh water daily, and also please wash their water bowls regularly!! Londoners especially beware, limescale builds up in the bowls very quickly and all this combines to harbour germs
  • If for any reason you can’t get out to walk your dog please do ensure you put time aside for play indoors and if toilet time is your garden, please clean up immediately
  • If you are able to walk please do take your dog out daily! You can mix things up a little. So, if you wake up to winter sunshine get outside and enjoy the fresh air together. Our top tip is to get it done and out of the way in the morning, and then you can snuggle up with your content dog for the rest of the day
  • For those days when the weather is just too cold then wrap up warm and head out for a sniff walk around your local area, maybe stopping to treat yourself to a hot chocolate along the way
  • Playtime is important for cats too, or else they will sleep all day. Ensure you have a variety of toys you can use to keep them occupied, put them away when they are not playing so that when they come back out it is new and exciting again
  • Cats are notoriously clean, and they want to have this type of environment at home. If you have a cat litter-tray this will need to be emptied and cleaned out on a regular basis and do keep the area around the tray clean too. Urine does build up at the bottom which is unpleasant for them, and the smell will be awful for your home too
  • Houses with pets are a great home for ticks or fleas so ensure you use a flea comb regularly and vacuum regularly, especially if you have carpets
  • Keep your dog’s teeth clean. There are lots of Dental sticks for dogs which help. My dog Winnie really enjoys removing her own plaque by having a good munch on a Yaks milk chew. They are natural and healthy and a wonderful discovery that we made in a small pet shop in Windsor a couple of years ago. Since then they have grown in popularity and you can find them online, and in most good pet shops
  • If you can make the time please do consider buying a toothbrush and toothpaste for your pets, even once a week will really help. The toothpastes are a yummy flavour, and with some patience and advice from a veterinary nurse on technique you will really be helping to keep their teeth healthy throughout their lives
  • Dental work at the vets is very expensive! They will also need to be sedated which always carries a risk for any animal, and the treatment is not always covered by pet insurance
  • Lastly there’s nothing better for your pet’s wellbeing than lots of love and affection. Cuddles are good for us humans too!

The above tips help provide a healthy life for your dog and cat but remember they don’t replace the fact you still need to regularly walk your dog and provide exercise for your cat.  Products mentioned in this blog are our recommendations only and are not paid advertising.

Featured image: Da Vinci a Bengal cat we look after on a regular basis


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